Water was first distributed to Springfield Area by a privately owned company named Aqueduct. The company was in charge of the city’s water distribution from 1865 to 1897. The city’s Water and Sewerage Commission then took over the water distribution duties in Springfield and adjacent areas.
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After the Commission took over the water distribution, major improvements to the distribution system were undertaken. For instance, two additional reservoirs were immediately added to the infrastructure to make the distribution more reliable. In 1910, the city completed building a reservoir with the capacity to hold approximately 2.5 billion gallons of water.
This was the first big water reservoir for the city. The city later built the 22.8 billion-gallon Mountain Reservoir in 1931. This reservoir has since become Springfield’s main source of water supply. The City also has an emergency water reservoir that serves part of the rural population. Springfield’s water distribution system serves the entire city and its outskirts.
As of 2006, the distribution system catered to over two million residents. The entire distribution system has over seventy thousand metered accounts. The City also sells water on a wholesale basis to neighboring towns such as Longmeadow. The city is however responsible for the treatment of water in the entire distribution system. The distribution system also stretches over a diameter of seventy-five miles.
When the Springfield distribution system was first instituted, the population of the city was below 300 thousand inhabitants. However, by 1945, the distribution system had the capacity to supply over one million gallons per day. This number increased to eighteen million by the end of 1960. Currently, the distribution system can handle up to 30 million gallons of water in daily distribution.
Since the general population of Springfield is on the decline, the distribution system is not being utilized to its full capacity. The water commission notes that the city’s current average daily water consumption is approximately eight million gallons. The water distribution network in Springfield was developed in tandem with the population growth.
In the City’s history, there are two incidences when water distribution reports of major significance were tabled. The first report was tabled just before the city’s main water reservoir was built. The other one was in 1980 and it addressed arising safety concerns due to incursions into the main water catchment area. Both reports have had a big impact on the infrastructure of the water distribution system in Springfield.
Springfield’s reservoirs, treatment plants, and storage tanks are all maintained using the current technology. The team of maintenance workers uses a computerized system control to monitor the entire distribution network. The entire operation is based on a modernized Transmission Control Center. A pumping control officer is in charge of the distribution’s entire operation. From a control center, the maintenance team is able to monitor the water pressures, flow rates, reservoir levels, and chlorine residues.
The team is also able to manage power consumption using the computerized system. Over the years, the system has been improved to have the ability to monitor the performance of different equipments in the distribution system. In some cases, unauthorized entry, hurricanes, and floods can be monitored remotely. Most of the work performed in a transmission control centre involves regulating pumping stations.
A pumping control officer has the ability to increase or decrease supply in some areas depending on the data received in the station. The control centre also makes it easy to perform routine maintenances in the distribution system. The control centre offers a twenty-four hour service to the residents of Springfield. There have not been any major mishaps in Springfield’s water distribution system in the recent past.
The water in this distribution system flows from Cobble Mountain to the reservoir. The water then proceeds to the West Parish treatment point for filtration and treatment purposes. Then, the treatment process caters for the adjustment of the water’s PH level. This ensures that the water does not corrode the city’s distribution system as well as domestic plumbing.
Sometimes, corrosion inhibitors could be introduced to the water to lower the instances of corrosion. The final step in the water treatment process is the addition of chlorine. Addition of chlorine is supposed to disinfect water before it is distributed to the customers’ distribution network.
After it is treated, the Springfield water flows to storage tanks. The tanks are four in number and they all have a holding capacity of sixty-million gallons. These four tanks are located in Provin Mountain. From here, the water utilizes the force of gravity to flow to the Springfield neighborhood. The water commission only utilizes pumps in a few areas that require extra pressure. However, most of the town’s environment does not require extra pumping.
Most of the areas that require pumping are neighboring towns that receive water on a wholesale basis. The Springfield water transmission system includes a main pipe network of approximately 250 miles. This network includes pipes of between 15 centimeters and 2 meters in diameter.
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These pipes are usually manufactured using galvanized steel. The water commission then encases these pipes using concrete. Previously, the pipes used to be lined with cement mortar in the inside but this is no longer the case. The city is in the process of substituting steel pipes with cheaper and easier to maintain materials. The pipes are usually buried adjacent to the public road networks in a depth of about one meter.
All the main pipes have valves that help ease the maintenance works in the distribution network. In addition, the valves help to get excess air out of the system. The Water Commission has installed meters in the main pipes to help collect usage statistics and conduct billing for wholesale customers.
The body responsible for water distribution in Springfield is the Water and Sewer Commission. The Commission distributes drinking water in the Springfield area as well as wholesale water to Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, and Agawam communities. During certain times, the commission can also supply water to Southwick and West Springfield.
This service is usually partial or peak depending on the pre-arranged schedule. Springfield water can also be supplied to Chicopee and Wilbraham in times of emergency. Apart from the water distribution system, the commission also owns and operates the Cobble Mountain Hydro Power-Station.
The power station uses the Commission’s Cobble Mountain reservoir to generate power. This is achieved through a series of dams that are built between the reservoir and the West Parish water filtration and treatment point. The station is able to generate a substantial amount of power through this project. This subsidizes the cost of water distribution in Springfield City.